Israel was elected for the first time to serve as a member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on Monday, receiving more than two-thirds of the vote of UN member states. 154 countries showed their support for Israel, which will now have the ability to vote, offer proposals for discussion, start initiatives and more on one of the UN’s three main bodies.
“Choosing Israel to serve on ECOSOC is a recognition of our innovation and creativity, which serves to benefit all nations of the world, as well as evidence of our diplomatic efforts throughout the international community,” said Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, following the vote. “I will continue to lead the State of Israel to further achievements and to expand cooperation efforts at the UN, despite efforts by the Palestinians and their supporters.”
ECOSOC, which, along with the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, is one of the UN's three main bodies. It numbers only 54 members (out of 193 UN member states) and deals with all economic, development and environmental issues, as well as a variety of humanitarian concerns. ECOSOC is also responsible for approving the action plans of the permanent committees working under it on a variety of issues such as the Committee on the Status of Women, the Statistics Committee, the Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations, the Committee on Drugs, the Population and Development Committee, the Forestry Forum and more. Countries are nominated as part of regional blocs, with Israel's candidacy coming on behalf of the Group of Western European and Other Countries (WEOG).
Israel’s success at ECOSOC comes after a year of accomplishments at the UN, including the election of an Israeli diplomat to serve as deputy chair of the Judiciary Committee (one of six permanent UN Committees), Israeli Odelia Fitoussi winning the support of 109 countries, including some Arab states, to serve on UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and an unprecedented 144 countries voting to adopt an Israeli resolution encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation.
Monday’s achievement is also notable given it took place following the recent military operation in Gaza and the extensive anti-Israel diplomatic efforts and spike in global anti-Semitism.